The cost of second-hand clothes, popularly known as mitumba is set to go higher as Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) seeks to adjust the import duty with East Africa Commission (EAC) tariffs.
In a report, The Star reported that the new development is as a result of claims that Border and Customs Department could be levying lower taxes on mitumba clothes and shoes due to under declaration of weight.
According to Profiling and Targeting chief manager Grace Lekasi, the increase of the exchange rate of the Kenyan shilling to the US dollar was attributed to the new adjustments.
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“Data analysed from January 2022 indicates that less than 19 per cent of the declarations comply with the minimum acceptable weights. Consequently, the department could be levying lower taxes in approximately 80 per cent of the declarations
“This may result in a loss of between KSh 150,000 and KSh 200,000 per 40-feet container,” Lekasi said.
As such, Lekasi mentioned that KRA Customs department adjusted delivery charges for products on free on board (FOB) shipment to avoid instances of importers paying lower taxes.
KRA also adjusted the minimum acceptable weight for a 40-feet container of second-grade mitumba at 24,000 kgs.
The levy of imported first-grade mitumba clothes has now risen to KSh 109.58 up from KSh 24.35 per Kg while second-grade worn clothes now stands at KSh 91.31 per Kg.
At the same time, with the shilling currently exchanging at KSh 121.75, this brings the total minimum FOB levy for second-grade mitumba clothes to KSh 2.2 million and KSh 2.6 million for first-grade mitumba.
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“The department should adhere to the minimum recommended weights for all categories of used worn articles in assessing taxes,” Lekasi added.
Elsewhere, Trade and Industrialization CS Moses Kuria sparked mixed reactions after claiming that the government will ban mitumba once they find an alternative from the local textile industry.
Kuria while speaking at the Chamngamka Shoping Festival in Nairobi on Tuesday pointed out that Kenya exports locally made fabric at a cheaper price than it imports the second-hand clothes.
“Whatever is required for us to sell to our people the same way we are selling to America, we will do. Once the option is available we will do like South Afric
“South Africa banned mitumba. I’m sure you want me to say that we are going to ban mitumba, Yes, we will ban mitumba once we give people an alternative and then we ban it,” said Kuria.
However, he later retained his position on the same and said that that his words were taken out of context by detractors aimed at intimidating him.
Kuria stated that his ministry would endeavour to ensure all Kenyans are able to afford decent new clothes.
“We have problems with our media here, we will continue praying for them so that they can be able to report things properly,” he stated.
The CS further argued that local manufacturers export clothes to the United States and other destinations at relatively cheaper costs than the prices of mitumba in Kenyan markets.
“I want to see a Kenya whereby every Kenyan can afford decent new clothes. Nobody wears mitumba out of their will, they wear it because they don’t have enough disposable income, because they don’t have alternatives and because they don’t have jobs,” he said.